European Union officials are predicting an 80 per cent chance that the UK will leave the bloc in a clean break under a Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Eurocrats have told The Sun that Mr Johnson’s pledges to leave on October 31st with or without a withdrawal agreement and his vocal rejection of the Irish backstop leaves them more certain than not that the UK will leave in a no-deal.
A senior diplomat told the tabloid: “We’re a bit puzzled. He’s closed a lot of doors. He’s closing down each and every possibility.
“Even those whereby you could think OK, the Europeans haven’t accepted this, may not accept it, but you never know before the abyss. Even those things he is closing down, which makes it really hard to create an opening.”
Charlie Grant from the Centre for European Reform said that he had witnessed the same sentiment expressed in the report, telling The Times: “I would say that, having talked to senior figures in Brussels and other European capitals, they now believe no-deal is more likely than not.”
The House of Commons has rejected three times the withdrawal treaty agreed between Brussels and outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, with Brexiteer MPs objecting to the Irish backstop, which could lock the UK permanently in regulatory alignment with the EU after the near-two-year transition period.
Johnson Pledges to Get UK’s ‘Mojo Back’, Plans Ministry for No Deal https://t.co/TBaXb3Iuuy
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 19, 2019
Eurocrats’ longstanding hopes that the UK would eventually back the deal were found to have been fed by Prime Minister Theresa May, who the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier claimed had not once said that the UK could decide to reject the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and leave in a no-deal scenario.
Boris Johnson’s approach to no deal, however, has been greatly different than that of Mrs May, who he will likely replace on Wednesday. Last week, Johnson said that he would be overhauling the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) to turn it into the Ministry for No Deal and stated he would not be delaying Brexit again, sending a clear signal to the EU that he is ready to take the country out of the bloc in a clean break unless Brussels moves some of its red lines.
Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory Party leader and Johnson ally, told Sunday’s Andrew Marr Show: “The EU is a master at hard-nosed negotiation and I think we got taken for a ride… But I am certain that they will engage to discuss what the alternatives are, otherwise they want us to leave with no deal, in which case that’s very clear.”
The EU and its member-states have been preparing for a no-deal, with the European Commission announcing in March that it was ready for an “increasingly likely” clean Brexit, with the chief of Calais announcing as early as January that his ports were ready, also.
The EU continues to ramp up preparations for a clean exit, with The Times reporting on Monday that the European Commission is drawing up a multi-million pound ‘aid’ package for the Republic of Ireland to help it deal with the impact of a no-deal.
It was also revealed on Sunday the UK is set to hire 500 new Border Force agents to cut illegal immigration, mostly of third-world migrants arriving from the EU, a boost to post-Brexit Britain’s ability to control migration.
Farage Says May ‘Openly Lied’ to UK After Eurocrat Reveals PM Never Threatened No Deal https://t.co/Qp9dmC58Kd
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 18, 2019